29 SES 01, Challenges and Possibilities for Improvisation in Music Education
Improvisation holds a problematic position – in music education as well as in music education research. According to music education syllabi in most European countries, improvisation is a part of the subject content and, as such can even be even mandatory. Previous studies have, however, shown that music teachers find it difficult to incorporate improvisation activities in their teaching (e.g. Ferm Thorgersen & Zandén 2014; Whitcomb 2007). As a result, the concept of improvisation has received an increasing interest from scholars and educators. Yet, at present it is an underdeveloped field in music education contexts.
This symposium brings together researchers in music education with special interests in questions related to research in improvisation and improvisation pedagogy. All presenters conduct research on improvisation in music education, based in either ethnography or participating action research. In addition, the researchers represent four European countries – Finland, Norway, Scotland and Sweden – where new curricula quite recently have been introduced. According to these, improvisation activities are expected to take place in music education and the common argument is it is assumed that improvisation can develop creativity and in turn nurture a critical mind (Gonzales, 2015). Similar ideas are apparent in key documents related to education and training in Europe (see e.g. OECD, 2013). Music education research is, in other words, confronted with several challenging questions about the role of, and assumptions about, improvisation.
This symposium focuses on how we can understand improvisation in educational contexts. Within this symposium, we will address a number of fundamental questions designed to take the audience to the heart of current debates around improvisation. Two main questions guide this symposium:
- How can we theoretically understand improvisation in an educational context?
- What are the implications and challenges for music education research on improvisation?
Firstly, we will present a literature review of improvisation in music education research, setting the background and illustrating the current situation. We will then consider particular challenges and/or possibilities music education researchers and music educators perceive and encounter. Following this, we will discuss different visions of improvisation pedagogy which have emerged from the music education research.
Secondly, the symposium will bring forth and reflect on new methodological approaches to research improvisation exemplified in three different educational environments: kindergarten/preschool, elementary school and adult education. Approaches to free improvisation will be presented instrumentally and vocally, as well as individually and collaboratively. Importantly, the concept of free improvisation is suggested to include social, visual and bodily engagement with potential for creating a space for facilitation of individual and collaborative creativity. Also original methodological and theoretical constructs that have been developed will be presented, constructs, which delineate the strengths that participants may build through practices of free improvisation,
- key approaches and methodologies in music education research, and in teaching music through improvisation, which are drawn from research and practice, thus benefitting both music education research and future teachers
- that approaches to teaching music through improvisation have potential benefits in broader music education and developing these is an important research priority
- that as interest seems to be growing amongst music educators in utilising improvisation in music education, effective teaching materials and robust methods of delivery are needed
- the importance to advance theoretical and critical appraisals for comprehension of practice and research concerning improvisation in music education.
Gonzales, Anita (2015). (Pre-)Scripted Creativity: An Examination of the Creativity Movement in Spain’s Contemporary Music Education Literature. Paper presentation at ECER conference 2015 Ferm Thorgersen, Cecilia; Zandén, Olle (2014). Teaching for Learning or Teaching for documentation? Music teachers ́perspectives on a Swedish curriculum reform. In British Journal of Music Education. September 2014, pp1-14. DOI: 10.1017/S0265051714000166 Education Scotland, Curriculum for Excellence, http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/nqmusic/learningandteaching/composingskills/index.asp 2016-01-10 Finnish National Board of Education (Utbildningsstyrelsen) (2004). National core curriculum for basic education (Grunderna för läroplanen för den grundläggande utbildningen) http://www.oph.fi/lp2016/grunderna_for_laroplanen Finnish National Board of Education Utbildningsstyrelsen (2014). National core curriculum for basic education (Grunderna för läroplanen för den grundläggande utbildningen Föreskrifter och anvisningar 2014:96) http://www.oph.fi/lp2016/grunderna_for_laroplanen National Agency for Education (Skolverket), (2011). Curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and the recreation centre 2011. www.skolverket.se/publikationer OECD (2013), PISA 2012 Results: Ready to Learn: Students’ Engagement, Drive and Self-Beliefs (Volume III), PISA, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264201170-en Whitcomb, Rachel (2007). Improvisation in elementary general music: A survey study. The Kodály Envoy, 34(1), 5-10.! Winner, E., T. Goldstein and S. Vincent-Lancrin (2013), Art for Art's Sake?: The Impact of Arts Education, Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264180789-en
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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